In a review almost as long as Rogues’ Gallery itself, Oscar White Muscarella, a longtime curator at and gadfly within the Metropolitan Museum of Art, reports that at a May 12th, 2009 meeting of the Board of Trustees of the MMA, its new director, Thomas Campbell slammed the book as “a sardonic mixture of gossip and sloppily recounted fact that takes cheap pot shots at the Museum’s dearest and closest supporters.” The meeting minute-taker, Muscarella continues, piles on and adds that Campbell “derides the publication.” What Muscarella doesn’t say because, I am guessing, neither did Campbell to the dear trustees who’d just made him King of Museum Mountain, is what, if any, “fact” is wrong. Neither did the museum’s mouthpiece when he similarly dismissed the book as “highly misleading,” but refused to be specific. I have reported (on this page) each and every error in the book — thankfully very few — that I’ve discovered or learned about since its publication. So perhaps the museum (which refused to cooperate and actively tried, but thankfully failed, to impede my research) will take me at my word when I say that if they can demonstrate any errors of fact, I’ll be happy to correct them both here and in subsequent editions. How much you wanna bet (he added sardonically) that their beefs don’t amount to a fast food patty? UPDATE: To summarize the review, I am a dupe of “Punch” Sulzberger, Philippe de Montebello and Tom Hoving. I heard the truth from Oscar Muscarella and chose to ignore or mistate it. My thoughts: A lot of what I heard from Muscarella — and some I did not — is told at great length in his very long post. Museum watchers should be riveted — but will they link? That way lies censure. I’m always hearing that I should publish what I chose not to publish. In this case, Muscarella has done a lot of that.
(burger, above, by Claes Oldenburg)